What's new and how it compares

The EOS R may not have the most awe-inspiring spec sheet, but as the harbinger of Canon's new RF mount, it's a significant camera nonetheless. It also offers a unique packaging of features and capability within Canon's lineup as well as some unconventional control points.

Key takeaways:

  • The new RF mount is the same width as the EF mount, but less than half as deep
  • A new 12-pin connection allows for faster data transfer
  • Canon claims the RF mount is just as durable as the EF mount
  • The current lineup of RF lenses looks optically excellent
  • The M-Fn Bar is a completely new control point for Canon cameras
  • C-Raw reduces file sizes by 40% without noticeable image quality loss until you push your image by several stops
  • Dual Pixel AF is available while recording 4K video, but there's still a severe crop

RF Mount

Canon's new RF mount preserves the original 54mm diameter of the EF mount, and reduces the flange-back distance from 44mm to 20mm. Canon claims that, as we've heard from other manufacturers, this combination of 'short and wide' in a lens mount opens up new possibilities when it comes to designing lenses (particularly with regard to faster maximum apertures or wide angle options). The new mount also comes with a 12-pin connection to allow for faster communication between the camera and the lens.

Canon claims that the new RF mount was designed with durability in mind as well. The RF mount should stand up to the same sorts of abuse that the EF mount has for decades. They've also stated that there is no provision for mounting EF-M lenses on any RF-mount bodies.

Lenses

The new lens designs Canon's launched with the EOS R are evidence of the potential advantages offered by the RF mount. The 28-70mm F2 L USM, 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, 50mm F1.2 L USM and 35mm F1.8 Macro IS STM are all impressive performers.

In designing each new RF lens, Canon says it considers a trio of factors: compact size, enhanced optical performance, enhanced operational specifications. In creating the 28-70mm F2 L USM aimed at more professional users, Canon biased toward the latter two factors. With the 35mm F1.8 Macro, a more general purpose lens, Canon leaned more toward compactness. As the lens system fills out, we expect to continue to see a wide variety of lenses for a wide variety of users and use-cases.

A shift to full-frame mirrorless isn't solely a means of producing smaller camera systems

In other words, Canon isn't seeing a shift to full-frame mirrorless as solely a means of producing smaller overall systems. It's more about what the system can offer in terms of optics, features and operation, as well as matching different combinations to different uses and users.

Other considerations

In dreaming up the RF mount, Canon also took note of other limitations inherent in the 30-year-old EF system. Namely, limitations on the speed of communication between the lens and the camera as well as limited channels for that communication to take place.

With the RF mount's greater bandwidth for data, there can be more intelligent image stabilization processing. The EOS R's onboard Digic 8 processor is now able to read more detailed information from a lens gyro and compare it in real time against blur seen on the image sensor to more effectively compensate for vibrations. The enhanced speed of the mount also aids the Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) engine on the EOS R, which helps to digitally combat lens aberrations and diffraction. Additionally, DLO data is now supplied by the lens, rather than the camera body having to look it up in a database.

M-Fn Bar

The M-Fn Bar is an entirely new control point for Canon cameras. It offers no tactile feedback, but allows for either swiping and / or tapping to manipulate a set of customizable functions. We're not completely sold on the concept, which is reminiscent of Apple's Touchbar, but some users may find it useful. We'll go into the details of its functions and usage on the following page.

C-Raw

Debuting first on Canon's lower-end EOS M50, the C-Raw format has made its way into the EOS R. The C-Raw files are around 40% smaller than regular Canon Raw files, and you won't notice any degradation in quality until you push your files by several stops. Unless you're doing absolutely critical work, we'd recommend leaving C-Raw enabled to save on disk and memory card space.

Updated video

As you would expect from a camera released in 2018, the EOS R is capable of capturing 4K video. Dig in, though, and you'll find it's not the most exciting implementation. It carries an unfortunate 1.83x crop, making it hard to shoot wide-angle footage, and tops out at 30fps with some dramatic rolling shutter artifacts. On the plus side, Dual Pixel AF is available during recording.

For those looking to add the EOS R to a higher-end video setup, it can output 10-bit 4:2:2 C-Log footage over HDMI. You can also capture C-Log footage internally, but with 8-bit 4:2:0 files.

Compared to...

Canon EOS R Nikon Z6 Sony a7 III Canon EOS 6D II Canon EOS 5D IV
MSRP $2300 $2100 $2000 $2000 $3500

Pixel Count

30.3MP 24.5MP 24.2MP 26.2MP 30.4MP
Sensor type FSI CMOS BSI CMOS BSI CMOS FSI CMOS FSI CMOS
Mount dimensions 54mm /
20mm
55mm /
16mm
46.1mm /
18mm

54mm /
44mm

54mm /
44mm
Viewfinder 3.69M dot
0.76x mag
3.69M dot
0.8x mag
2.36M dot
0.78x mag

Optical
0.71x mag
Optical
0.71x mag
Rear LCD 2.10M dot
3.2" Fully articulated
Touchsceen
2.10M dot
3.2" Tilting
Touchsceen

0.91M dot
3.0" Tilting
Touchscreen

1.04M dot
3.0" Fully articulated
Touchsceen
1.62M dot
3.2" Fixed
Touchscreen

Continuous burst rate Up to 8 fps
(5 with C-AF)
Up to 12 fps Up to 10 fps Up to 6.5 fps Up to 7 fps
Max video res / rate 4K/30p
from crop
4K/30p
oversampled
4K/30p
oversampled
1080/30 4K/30p
from crop
Log modes C-Log
10-bit ext
8-bit int
N-Log (HDMI only)
10-bit
S-Log2 / SLog3 / HLG 8-bit N/A Paid option
8-bit
Card slots

SD (UHS-II)

XQD SD (UHS-II)
SD (UHS-I)
SD (UHS-I) SD (UHS-I)
CF
Battery life (CIPA) 370 / 350 (LCD / EVF) 380 / 310
(LCD / EVF)

710 / 610
(LCD / EVF)

1200 / 380
(OVF / LCD)
900 / 300
(OVF / LCD)
USB 3.1 (Type C) 3.1 (Type C) 3.1 (Type C)
2.0 (Micro B)
2.0 (Mini B) 3.0 (Micro B)
USB charging Yes (with some chargers) Yes
(adapter included)
Yes (over either port) No No
Dimensions 136 x 98 x 68mm 134 x 101 x 68mm 127 x 96 x 74mm 144 x 111 x 75mm 151 x 116 x 76mm
Weight
(inc bat)
660g 675g 650g 765g 890g